The Thrilling Coco Gauff, The Chilling Elon Musk [#125]
Plus, great reads on parental surveillance and other potential parental misdeeds.
We’re still nonstop fig harvesting over here in my backyard. I even roped my house guests into helping pick the ripe ones off the higher branches as soon as they got off the plane. ICYMI, the New Yorker has this lovely appreciation of figs — “enclosed flowers that bloom modestly inward.”
What else? It’s been one week since 19-year-old Coco Gauff met all the hype and came from behind to defeat the world number one, Aryna Sabalenka, becoming the U.S. Open champion. She cried, you cried, I cried, we all cried. Then I felt a real void because watching that tennis tournament was how I spent most my days and nights for the previous two weeks.
A fascinating interview with the U.S. Open stenographers, who say Americans speaking English are the absolute worst to transcribe (and as a bonus, they share my appreciation for the lovably cranky Daniil Medvedev). Surveilling our kids is no good for them. Achievement culture can also harm kids, and this antidote is compelling. The reliably tech-forward Korea now has an ID photo problem because of all the AI apps that turn your ID image into whatever the machine deems as “most beautiful”. The inescapable Elon biography dominated the week, and I begrudgingly read a few highlights. Vox’s book critic Constance Grady wrote the best critique, on how Walter Isaacson’s latest tome failed to focus on the systemic and global impacts of this megalomaniac.
Werk Werk Werk
I talked about sunscreen and why American sunscreens are behind, for Vox’s Today Explained. Here are the inexpensive Korean sunscreens I use, by the way. Wrote a feature for the Sunday Times (UK) Magazine, about all the non-invasive procedures hot in Seoul right now. And organizers announced I’ll be at the Texas Book Festival in November, along with the aforementioned Walter Isaacson and many, many other authors. Exciting!
Watch and/or Listen
My favorite TED talk from this year’s conference was released! It’s funny, well-delivered and actionable advice for handling pain, from Dr. Amy Baxter.
Calamine spray, for all the mosquito bites lately.
Trader Joe’s Brownie Crisp Coffee Ice Cream Sandwiches. Ice cream sandwiched between two thin layers of brownie instead of the traditional chocolate wafers. MY GOD I CANNOT GET ENOUGH.
That’s it from here. THANK YOU for all your comments and emails about tipping and how you think about it. I’m now no longer tipping for products (like buying coffee beans at the counter), and eschewing the default 20-22-25% tipping menus to choose “custom tip” and simply entering $1 for the barista, or more for service that went above and beyond. Fight me if this is wrong, though. As Adam Grant teaches, we should always be open to think again.
Until next time, when hopefully I will have fewer figs,